Gearing up for re-election this year, Prospect Park Mayor Mohammed Khairullah kicked off his campaign on Thursday in front of a packed room of nearly 400 attendees at La Neve’s banquet hall.
The Paterson burb may be small – with a population less than 6,000 – but the night was big on optics, as Khairullah projected strength in both numbers and attendant political power.
NJ Democratic Chairman and Passaic County Chairman John Currie was in the room, on familiar ground in his home-county, as was Vice Barbara Tanis.
The entire Prospect Park council team showed up, as did several Prospect Park Board of Ed commissioners.
LD35 Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter attended, as did East Orange Mayor Ted Green.
Representing Governor Murphy was Robert Field, from the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.
LD35 Senator Nellie Pou and Passaic County Bernice Toledo both took turns addressing the crowd.
A prominent Muslim leader – born in Aleppo and an active voice on behalf of Syrian relief efforts – Khairullah had a notable presence of Arab and Muslim political power in the room. Paterson Democratic co-chair Al Abdelaziz was there. So was Sikandar Khan, representing Freeholder Sandi Lazzara. Manchester Board of Utilities Commissioner Dewan Choudhury was there. Jersey City’s Musab Ali – the youngest Board of Education member in Jersey City – showed up.
Former Paterson Councilman Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman was in the room, telling Insider NJ that he feels confident heading into the May municipal election. He’s running for an at-large seat.
Flanked by Council President Ether Perez and Councilman Bobby Lash – running for re-election with the mayor this year – along with chief aide and adviser Instashan Choudhury, who opened the program, Khairullah took the microphone and rallied the troops at and laid out his vision.
A source said the mayor raised close to $10,000 on the event, a solid haul. But the night was about more than fundraising. It was about optics – and an opportunity to throw an elbow towards any potential challengers.
“I’m honored by the tremendous show of support from our diverse community,” Khairullah told Insider NJ. “We will keep our campaign an issue-based campaign and stay away from the divisiveness of our opposition. I want to continue moving the borough forward for all of our residents.”